I'm losing it a little bit. There is never a moment when people aren't yelling or fussing. The slightest thing that happens creates an unbelievable hullabaloo. I feel like one of those animals in the zoo that huddles in a ball in a corner of the cage while screaming crowds poke it and point.
For example last night I got up and went into the kitchen... and said to one person quietly, "Hey, do you know where the pumpkin pie..." because it wasn't on a countertop or in the fridge. The question was not even out of my mouth before four people sprang up and began offering advice and asking questions and generally getting in my face. "It's up there! in the cupboard! you'll need a stepladder! I'll have to move my chair! No you won't, I can reach it! Do you want whipped cream, ice cream, plates, the plates are over here, it's a good pie, are you sure you don't want apple, the pumpkin pie was popular today! Let D. do it, he can reach, no, she will need the chair, the stepladder... make room... let me get out of the way..." I sort of lost it and sputtered, "Aaaagh, get away, can everyone just go away, i don't want any fuss, I'll get it myself."
But, that is happening every single minute here - nothing can happen without endless fuss and loud commentary.
I tried to fix Rook's dad's oldest computer, which is from 2001 and runs Windows ME. It was having an "out of memory" error when trying to load shell32.dll, which apparently it needs at every juncture. The shell32.dll file was ginormous and finally I deleted it figuring I could replace it off the system CD. So now it does that "non-32" startup and many things work; different things than before work and don't work. No one can find the system CD and I can't figure out if there is a place on the windows site to download just that one bit. I then thought I could get his files off the computer (he backed some of them up onto floppies; there is a cd drive on the computer and easycdcreator, but i don't think he has ever used it and he was not sure about cds at all.) But getting my little usb stick thingie into the back of the computer would mean massive dusty excavation. I think that he wants that computer resurrected b/c it is set up properly to do hangul. The newer ones don't so he has 3 computers none of which do what he needs and none of which he knows how to use. all with printers and peripherals and software like crazy that he also doesn't know how to use. There is an enormous bookbag full of disks and cds back to 1995. There are also floppies and cds kind of all over the house. I don't get it!
The children fight and compete and some of them are stunningly rude. N. and Z. order their mom and dad around like nasty tyrants. "Hellooooo, I WANTED the OTHER CHEERIOS. Get me the cheerios!" Hello kid get your own f*cking cheerios or ask politely. I have heard Moomin do this but he gets called on it. N and Z do it and someone drips with sympathy for them and hops up to get whatever it is. Then they have a perpetual jealousy and competition thing going which it seems to me like, if someone pointed out "You are feeling jealous" it might help. Rather than placating and bargaining. The worse they act the more special attention they get. They use the threat of losing their temper or going berserk constantly and they are only encouraged in it. Why would they do it if it didn't *work for them*. My attitude would be more like, "you can pitch a fit but that will just annoy me and make me not want to play with you; also it won't be any fun for you. So, your choice." This morning at breakfast I finally burst out laughing as one of them and then the other barked rude orders at their parents. I know everyone just kind of sucks up the bad behavior and placates on a trip, because we're all tired... but it was like they didn't even notice how awful it was.
Moomin got into it today when Z. said ostentatiously to his dad that he wanted to play a card game with him one on one, NOT with N. He said it with sad pathos... part sincere and understandable but at the same time he darted a sly smile at his brother. Who promptly went berserk and furious. Their dad was distracted and there was a bad moment of gorilla-like posturing and some name-calling. Finaly N. ran after him out of control ready to beat him up. (Keeping in mind this is in a tiny space full of horrid sharp corners, rocking chairs, chrome and glass bookcases with delicate chinese vases... ) Z. dove under the table and began laughing... clearly happy to have made his brother lose his temper. I and his dad caught and restrained him. Moomin flipped out and got up N.'s grill right up in his face and declared he was being mean to brothers and cousins and it was not right and Moomin wasn't going to be his friend. Oh hell. Keep in mind this was before I had had coffee and I was staring slack-jawed. I had to intervene at that point.
The response of other adults was to "roughhouse" on the theory that the kids needed to "blow off some energy" while my response would be the complete opposite... rather than riling them up more I would model some peaceful play or behavior. In fact I think this is part of what happens to boys. Their every impulse towards bad feeling or violence or being out of control is met with affection that is like constant veiled hostility, in tickle wars and poking and teasing and mock wrestling. It's not that those things are bad but can't there ever be simple affection or acknowledgment of feelings ... something... Plus I get really perturbed sometimes with the dominance behavior of adults who can't relate to small children without that kind of dynamic. Part of it is the discomfort of the adults (often male) with expressing affection towards other males. This drives me crazy to see when it is just constant. I also really really really especially hate when adults do this to children and the children are struggling to get away (while laughing and apparently having fun...) and saying "stop! stop!" and I'm just like... what are you teaching the kid? How do you expect them to learn to respect other people's boundaries or to expect their own to be respected? It's not like kids know how to yell "safeword!"
This morning I woke up to a nightmare that I was walking around with 3 pairs of socks and small plastic bags over my feet and then another layer of socks over the plastic bags, and my feet were still cold, and Rook's family was all sitting around the dinner table discussing this blog.
I thought of my uncle R. and how he was when we were growing up together. When he was 8 and I was 5, he was a person who thought of fabulous ideas. He organized spying, and demolition derbies for model cars, and lego construction projects we could work on together, and strange-ruled chess with stuffed animals on the checkered rug on the floor of the porch. He never made me cry, or grabbed things jealously or whined or threatened to hit me or otherwise use physical force. He certainly never said a thing about my being younger or being a girl. Anyway I was just thinking of this basic fair-minded getting-along quality, and thinking how it is part of why I think R. is rad even if he accidentally got drunk and fell asleep on his ex-girlfriend's couch and got arrested and convicted of felony breaking and entering.
Today I will pack and try to be polite as possible to all the extended family who are coming over. Will not lose temper.
On the bright side, yesterday was mostly warm in the house.
Today it's sunny which seems to make everyone think heat is not necessary so i'm damned freezing again. 3pr socks, 4 shirts.
I'm so homesick.